How to Prepare and Sell at your Local Markets
Many candle makers use local markets as a key channel to sell their soy candles, it’s also a great opportunity to speak to customers to better tailor your candle products.
Many Australian brands today started by selling in markets and through this channel were able to gain valuable insights and build a name for themselves.
Selling at markets can feel like a daunting experience, there are different rules, you need to have insurance and until you do it, you won't know what to expect.
To ease this process we have created a comprehensive guide that will give you all the resources and information you need to give you a head start.
In this guide we will cover the following:
Picking the right market is an important part of having a successful day selling, it is well worth the time and investment to do both online and on the ground research.
First, create a list of local markets in your area or located in the area you want to sell, to help you with this process we have created a widget that allows you to look up your local markets on a map.
You can also search for markets with the following resources:
Markets and Fairs
Local Market Guide
Once you have a list of potential markets, take the time to review their website, understand what products and stalls they are looking for as well as their specific rules.
Markets can differ in popularity as well as the range of products on display so once you have researched a few markets in your area go and visit them.
Walk around, familiarise yourself with the area, get a sense of the foot traffic and lay out. Use this opportunity to observe and speak to market stall owners, take note of what equipment you will need to set up and operate your own stall.
This will help you identify which market will work best for you as well as understand the optimal spaces to book and the size of the spaces at the market.
Majority of markets have an online application which will be found on the their website.
When booking you will be required to:
- Confirm the date you want to attend
- Confirm your product liability insurance with policy number (many markets will offer this for an additional fee)
- Confirm if you are hiring any tables or chairs (this service is relatively uncommon)
- Confirm products you are selling
- Select stall location or select preferred stall location
- Car registration number
- Business website or social pages
- Payment information and contact information
Make sure you read through their rules and regulations before applying to ensure that the candles you are selling are suitable for the market.
Make sure you let organizers know as much as possible about your product, this will ensure they have a clear picture on what you are offering and can process your application quickly and without hassle.
This is an opportunity to sell yourself to stall organizers, send over a few key pictures and highlight the uniqueness of your products, in some markets this will increase the chance that you are successful in securing a booking.
Some markets offer the prime locations by request or will allocate these to higher quality stalls and products.
Stalls are usually 3 meter by 3 meters but can be smaller or larger depending on the market. When you book a stall you are booking the area only, you will need to provide all equipment and tents that occupy that area.
Price of the stalls can range from $15 to $155 depending on the market and the location of the stall with in the market.
This price will likely cover the space only with additional fees applying for any other services such as table hire, public liability insurance or parking.
Product and Public Liability insurance:
It is required that all market stalls have public and product liability insurance, this protects you and your business against any financial risk in the event that something goes wrong.
Public liability covers you for the costs from claims for legal liability if a member of the public or another stall holder is injured or suffers damage to their property as a result of your negligence.
For example, if a market goer trips over a loose cable you haven’t secured properly and breaks their wrist or even if a freak storm knocks your marquee tent into a neighbouring stall damaging their contents.
Product liability is designed to protect you from damage or claims caused by a product you sold at the market.
This insurance can cost anywhere from $40 for one day cover to a few hundred dollars for 12 months depending on the policy.
Be sure to check the policy to ensure that none of your products or services are listed in the exclusions of the policy.
Some policies offer broader cover for online sales and sales from home as well.
You can find policies for market stalls online, here is a specific insurance policy for market stall owners.
Once you have applied you will usually be sent through confirmation that the booking was successful and receive relevant information for the day including arrival times, designated unloading zones as well as parking facilities nearby.
Make sure you carefully read all information sent as well as important information on their website.
This will help you plan where you will park, understand where your stall is located as well as understand anything you need to bring on the day (e.g. a copy of your insurance policy).
If you are unsure of anything reach out to the market stall organiser who is usually more than happy to help or point you in the right direction.
You have found a market and made a booking, now you need to prepare all the equipment and your stall to be ready for the day.
As you are only renting the space you will need to supply all of your own equipment to set up the stall.
There are a few key pieces of equipment required to set up a stall:
- Table coverings
- A trolley to cart your goods from your car to the stall
- Cash on hand
- Price tags
- Copy of your insurance policy
Most of this equipment can be found in hardware stores or at your local reject shop, there are many stores online that sell 3m by 3m market stall tents that are easy to set up.
Once you have the basic equipment have a think about how you can set up your stall to best present your brand and products.
Many stall holders create an open plan area for a better browsing experience, other stalls use decorations and display their products in interesting ways to get attention and drive sales.
Have a look at other people’s stalls for ideas, we have created a Pinterest page full of interesting stalls for inspiration.
Once you have booked a space, secured insurance and have all the necessary equipment, you are ready to start selling.
If you have never been to a market before, it’s best you arrive early to ensure you are sufficiently set up and ready to go. If the market starts at 9am, then arrive at 6:00am to set up.
Once you are familiar with the set up you can then assess how long it takes for future markets and plan accordingly.
Check the information provided by the market organiser as they will be able to supply more specific information on set up time and market start times.
Setting up the Stall
It’s important to note that many markets have unloading zones with no access to your stall location via car so you will need to transport equipment from the unloading zone to your stall to set up.
This is where having a trolley is handy to transport everything quickly and easily.
Ensure your tent is strongly secured and there are no loose items or cables for someone to trip on or injure themselves.
Have cash on hand and business cards ready
When the markets get busy you may be dealing with multiples customers and questions, its important you have your cash readily available either in a bum bag or tin nearby to issue change and process sales.
Have your business cards ready and on hand in case someone is interested in future purchases or a custom order.
Markets can be a very busy place with many stalls competing for people’s attention and money. Every competitive edge will increase your chances of having a successful day and leaving with more people knowing, loving and buying your products.
Hopefully this guide has helped to prepare you to sell at the markets, it is a great opportunity for you to sell your products, so armed with knowledge give it a go.
For more resources on selling at market visit Frosa Katsis’ website she offers candle making classes in Melbourne as well as a comprehensive e-book including and detailing selling at markets.
She has 15 years’ experience working markets, a manager of 3 markets and a participant in tens of markets.
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